Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Army Wives

Frances Sasser and I with Terry Serpico "LTC Frank Sherwood"

Catherine Bell "Denise Sherwood"

Wendy Davis "COL Joan Burton"
Why yes, that is me and Frances Sasser, our DCSM's spouse, (and my fabulous "Battle Buddy") with some of the stars on Lifetime's hottest show "Army Wives". We were fortunate to attend the premiere of  Season 6 in Charleston, SC!

Several years ago I had a chance meeting with Tanya Biank, the author of the book on which the television show is based. Tanya is an Army wife and mom.  She is soft spoken, smart, and sweet and I am grateful to her for introducing me to Missy Ricker the set director for "Army Wives".  Missy,  along with Brooke Brunson her own battle buddy,  is also sweet, smart, and incredibly talented. The book, originally titled Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives,  is a heartbreaking and non-fiction account of several Army families stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.  The show, however, is pure fiction and, to me... pure fun!

Missy and I outside of the sound stage in Charleston, SC
Now it just so happens that the fictional general's wife "Claudia Joy" (played by Kim Delaney) and I have several things in common.  I am, in fact, Claudia Shand, (yes really)!  I am from Charleston, SC where the show is taped and where the fictional Fort Marshall is located. And I am married to a 2 star general who is also a division commander. We are both actively involved in our communities only mine is real and hers is, well...not.

 After spending time on the set and meeting the most fascinating people behind the scenes I can tell you what IS real about "Army Wives" and that is the genuine desire to be as authentic as possible and still stay intriguing. (This is a TV drama, after all!) You can not imagine the time and all the moving parts and people it takes to produce one scene on this show. I can attest that this is one of the happiest and friendliest crew of people I have ever met. This past Sunday's episode was one I was privileged to watch taping and it was so cool to see all that work come alive on the screen!
The Army Wives Bluebird bus...we're on it!
So, I've digressed and my part comes in here...I was asked (via my connection to Tanya and Missy) to give some perspective on a new general's wife coming to the show, Jackie Clarke (played by Kelli Williams). I was also asked about my quarters and how we decorated. This past summer  "Army Wives" asked if  I would video tape our quarters for research purposes for some of the show's sets. I did, and I included some friend's quarters too, and the rest is television magic! Since we are fortunate enough, for the time being, to live parallel lives to some of the senior characters on the show I have given some input here and there. It's been fun to see some of my own home and Army life transported to the "set homes" and fictional lives of the Holdens and Clarkes.  I volunteer this information strictly, without compensation, and it is my version of the Army and how we live in Quarters One at Fort Riley.

My oldest son in Iraq. 
This photo may also make an appearance on the show with a little "photo shopping"!
Follow Quarters One Facebook (www.facebook.com/QuartersOne) page to see some updates following each show this season.
 "Army Wives" shows on Lifetime Sunday at 9PM on the east coast and 8 PM for those of us in Kansas...lucky us!!
Til next time....Duty First!

UDATE: Here's the new photo as looked on the set in "MG Clarke's" office…it isn't really possible for a 2 star today to shake hands with a 4 Star Petraeus as a CPT, but hey, only I would have noticed that. (Probably because my son is still a CPT!!)

1 comment:

  1. Dear shand, as ifficer in israeli army i feel you and admire you, as i knew which worrying you have in your beutiful family , give you hug , avigyl